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The McClaaahans. 

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Roanoke, Virginia. 
The Stone Printing and Manufacturing Company. 


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TO know whence we sprung is a trait peculiar to 
human beings ; and ' the higher we ascend 
in the scale of intelligence and moral worth, the 
more this trait seems to grow. They who cherish 
not the memory of their ancestors will not have 
a posterity to cherish theirs. 

The following sketch is prepared for the pres- 
ent generation of McClanahans and those to fol- 
low. It is not expected to be of interest to any 
outside of the "Clan." 

The writer regrets his inability to trace the 
lineage beyond the sea. This might be done by 
a visit to the North of Ireland. 




Robert McCi,anahan. 

50 far as is known, Augusta County, in the 
Valley of Virginia, was not visited by white 
men before Governor Spotswood in person took 
possession for King George the first, of England. 
This was done September 5, 17 16, on the Shen- 
andoah River, it is believed at a point about 
opposite Swift Run Gap, in the Blue Ridge 

It has not been clearly shown in what year the 
first white man, or colony of white men, settled 
in the Upper Valley. But it seems to be proved 
conclusively that the first white settler of Augusta 
County, as now bounded, was John Lewis — the 
father of Thomas, Andrew, William and Charles, 
who distinguished themselves greatly in the early 
history of Virginia, especially in the wars with 
the Indians, French and British. He came from 
Donegal County, Province of Ulster, Ireland, and 

6 The McCIvAnahans. 

was of Scottish descent. He settled on " Lewis 
Creek," as it has ever since been called, which 
empties into the Middle Fork of the Shenandoah 
and near to the site of Staunton. The Valley 
of Virginia was then a wooded ' ' prairie of hills 
and dales.' ' 

The early settlers were not disturbed by the 
Indians for a time. Through twenty years, they 
who had fled from Ireland to escape war, lived 
and died, says Foote, in his " Sketches of Vir- 
ginia, ' ' ' ' in that peace in this wilderness for which 
their hearts had longed in their native land." 
" During this time," writes Waddell, in his ' 'An- 
nals of Augusta County/' that is to sa3 r , during 
first twenty years after John Lewis came, "the 
young Lewises, McClanahans, MatthewSe^, Gamp- 
bells, and others, were growing up and maturing 
for many a desperate encounter and field of 
battle. ' ' 

Again he writes: "By the year 1745 the 
Alexanders, Aliens, Andersons, Bells, Bowyers, 
Breckinridges, Browns, Buchanans, Campbells, 
Christians, Craigs, Cunninghams, Dickinsons, 
Doaks, Finleys, Johnstons, Kerrs, Lewises, Lyles, 
Matthewses, Millers, Moores, McNutts, Moffetts, 
McPheeters, McClanahans, McDowells, Mc- 
Clungs, Pattons, Pickenses, Pattersons, Pilsons, 


Poages, Prestons, Robinsons, Scotts, Sitlingtons, 
Stuarts, Tates, Thompsons, Trimbles, Wilsons, 
Youngs, and others, abounded in the settlement. 
Other immigrants of the same race came in after- 
wards.' ' 

Robert McClanahan came to Augusta County 
from Ireland. The time of his coming has not 
been certainly determined, but it was at an early 
day. His deed to three hundred and thirty-one 
acres of land by William Beverly, dated May 27, 
1 741, is on record in Orange Courthouse, Vir- 
ginia. There was no clerk's office, in Augusta 
County, until 1745. His wife, Sarah Breckin- 
ridge, was daughter of Alexander Breckinridge, 
who came to America from the North of Ireland 
in 1728, and removed from Pennsylvania to a 
farm near the present site of Staunton, in Augusta 
County, Virginia. Robert McClanahan died in 
1 79 1, at his home, one mile south of Staunton, 
on what is known now as the Greenville road. 
He was, therefore, "the emigrant and founder." 
His children were Alexander, John, Robert and 
William (sons) ; with Mrs. St. Clair, Mrs. Dean, 
Mrs. Poage and Mrs. Keiser (daughters). It is 
a little doubtful whether Mrs. Poage was daugh- 
ter or granddaughter of Robert, the first ; but 
the evidence for the former is very strong. 

8 The JUcCi, ana hans. 

Mr. Frederick Johnston, in his " Memorials of 
Virginia Clerks" (page 52), says that "Robert Mc- 
Clanahan, throughout his whole life, was' a prom- 
inent man," From, the "Annals of Augusta 
County," by Waddell, we learn that he acted in 
various public capacities during his life. 

Quoting from the records of the county, Wad- 
dell writes as follows: "August 22, 1748, it 
appears that John Lewis had contracted to erect 
the public buildings of the parish for ^148. 

* * * From a bond executed by Colonel 
Lewis, with Robert McClanahan as security, 

* * * it appears that one of the buildings 
was a dwelling house for the parish minister." 

* * * "November 28, 1749, a commission 
to Robert McCknahan, gent., to be sheriff of this 
county during his majesty's pleasure, was pro- 
duced in court," etc. Adam Breckinridge, son 
of Alexander Breckinridge, who was founder of 
the distinguished family of that name in this 
county, and brother-in-law of McClanahan, 
"qualified as deputy sheriff." — Annals, page 

In 1750, the County Clerk employed Andrew 
Lewis as surveyor, to lay off twenty-five acres in 
town lots. The court appointed Andrew Lewis, 
Robert McClanahan, and Robert Breckinridge, 

Thk McCr,ANAHANS. 9 

commissioners to convey the lots to purchasers. 
Robert McClanahan purchased two half- acre lots 
for £2. 10 s. — Annal3 y pages 4.5, 4.6. 

In the year 1755, the French and Indians com- 
bined in a war against the British. Companies 
were formed in Augusta to oppose them. The 
Shawnees were on the war-path. General Wash- 
ington was in command of our forces at Winches- 
ter on October the eleventh. At this time ' ' some 
friendly Cherokees were expected at Staunton to 
be employed against the Shawnees, and the Gov- 
ernor wrote to David Stuart and Robert McClan- 
ahan to treat these allies well. ' ' — Annals, page 77. 

"At the meeting of the vestry " (of Augusta 
parish) "November 9, 1773, the Rev. John Jones 
agreed to receive the Rev. Alexander Balmaine 
as curate, and to pay him at the rate of ^100 a 
year, directing his attorney, Robert McClanahan, 
to pay the same out of his salary." In a per- 
sonal letter, Mr. Waddell writes that the Rev. 
Mr. Jones, ' ' the last rector of Augusta parish 
under the religious establishment before the Rev- 
olution," and Robert McClanahan, were very 
close friends. 

Sarah Breckinridge, the wife of Robert Mc- 
Clanahan was, according to tradition, a woman 
of very strong mind, and her company was much 

10 The McCi.anahans. 

sought by the most cultivated people of her day. 
Her father was a staunch Presbyterian. 

Robert McClanahan, " after having lived at 
various places in Staunton, removed to his farm, 
a mile south of town, now (1886) owned by Mrs. 
Gay and her children. This farm was conveyed 
to McClanahan, in 1748, by Robert Beverley, and 
was left by the former, at his death, in 1 791, to 
his executors, Alexander McClanahan and Alex- 
ander St. Clair. The terms imply a secret trust. 
At any rate, the executors conveyed the farm to 
Robert McC. , son of Captain Robert and grandson 
of Robert the first. Robert the third conveyed 
it to John McDowell, who built the present hand- 
some brick dwelling on the hill, having lived, in 
„. the meanwhile, as the first Robert McClanahan 
had,4tf u^msdl house near the Greenville road." 
Annals, pages 41, 42. 

In the early settlement of a country, before 
any great enterprises can be formed or under- 
taken ; when men and money are scarce, and 
there is no law, one, whose sturdy character, 
sound judgment, and good heart, make him a 
wise counsellor and trusted ally, is above all price, 
and there is no equivalent or substitute for him. 
Such an one he seems to have been, a sketch or 

Thk McClvANAHANS. 11 

outline of whose posterity it is proposed to write 
on these pages. To have had such an one as 
ancestor, is not only a pleasing subject of reflec- 
tion, but also an inspiration to a similar life in 
those who follow and uphold the family name. 

Brothers of Robert McClanahan. 

Blair McClanahan, 

BROTHER of Robert the first, settled in Phil- 
adelphia and became a wealthy merchant. 
After the Revolution he represented his district 
in the Fifth Congress, 1797. One of his 

daughters married Reid, who was a nephew 

of Dr. Franklin. — Old Virginia Clerks, page 57. 

From another source considered reliable, I find 

that the name of this daughter who married 

Reid "was probably Huldah. He had another 
daughter named Deborah, who married Walton 
Stewart." From the published archives of the 
Pennsylvania Colony, in the Peabody Library, 
Baltimore, Md., ample evidence is obtained to 
confirm Mr. Johnston's statement, /. e. f that Blair 
McClanahan was * ' a wealthy merchant ' ' in Phil- 
adelphia. He was a member of the firm of " Mc- 
Clenaghan and Irvin," and a representative in 
Congress from 1797-9. 

The following extracts from the same authority 
have been furnished me by the Rev. Samuel 
McLanahan, of Baltimore, Md. : 

Thb McCi,anahans. 13 

(i) March 3, 1779. The council cleared from 
port brig " Convention/ ' owned by him. 

(2) March 30, 1779. Mess. McClenaghan and 
Irvin were authorized to fit out ship " Gen'l 
Greene,* ' for defense and protection of the trade. 

(3) April 5, 1779. Council appropriated stores 
for this ship. 

(4) November 3, 1779. M. Clarkson, Marshal 
to the Court of Admiralty, represented that he 
had been violently opposed and insulted in the 
execution of his office by " Blair McClenachan," 
merchant and principal owner of the privateer 
* ' Holker, ' ' who with the aid of sailors had taken 
out of the marshal's possession a ship, il Lon- 
don (?) Rose, ' ' captured by said privateer. Coun- 
cil ordered investigation and suit, if proper. 

(5) April 8, 1779. (Volume XI, page 743). 
Blair MCClanaghan was authorized to receive 
loans for the State. 

Mr. McLanahan adds that ' ' the name was most 
frequently spelled with a c — McClenachan." 

James McClannaghan. 

It is recorded in the land office at Harrisburg, 
Pa., that a warrant was issued at Philadelphia, 
May 17, 1734, to James McClannaghan, to take 
up two hundred acres of land on Octorara Creek, 

14 The McCi^anahans. 

in Lancaster County. This warrant was returned 
as transferred to William Webster on the 18th 
of December, 1746. A few months after this 
transfer, i. e. t on the 18th of April 1747, James 
McClannaghan took out a warrant for one hun- 
dred and fifty acres of land along the Maryland 
line. For this and for other land he received a 
patent in 1762. His will was made on the 6th of 
June, 1764, and was probated on May 27, 1777. 
There was a Scotch-Irish settlement on Octorara 
Creek, and the most of the settlers of the Cum- 
berland Valley in Pennsylvania, came in from the 
lower counties. 

This James McClannaghan came to America, as 
nearly as can be ascertained, about 1739, from 
the North of Ireland, and died A. D. 1771. His 
son, James McLenahan, married Isabella Craig, 
of Cecil County, Maryland, in 17-61. Their son, 
James, married Elizabeth Boggs, of whom were 
born five children, the eldest of which was J. King 
McL,enahan, now living in Hollidaysburg, Penn. 
Their son John married E. Johnston and begat 
Thomas Johnston (who became a prosperous mer- 
chant of Philadelphia), and Isabella, afterwards 
Mrs. George Brown, of Baltimore, who built the 
"Brown Memorial Church." William McLena- 
han, the sixth child of James and Isabella, mar- 

The McClanahans. 16 

ried Mary Gregg, and begat four children, the 
second of which was James X., who was a mem- 
ber of the Thirty-first Congress, from 1849-53. 

The similarity of the names — McClannaghan 
and McClannahan, and the identity of many of the 
family surnames, together with the coincidence in 
the time of their coming to America from the 
North of Ireland, render it very probable that 
James and Robert were near of kin, and probably 


Elijah McClanahan. 

Quoting from " Henning's Statutes at Large* ' 
(as he writes to me personally), Waddell says, 
on page 108, Annals of Augusta County, Vir- 
ginia : * ' The town of Staunton was at last char- 
tered by act of Assembly in November, 1761. 
The first trustees of the town were William Pres- 
ton, William Lewis, William Christian, Eledge 
McClanahan, Robert Breckinridge, and Randal 
Lockheart. ' ' 

[It is questionable who this Eledge McClanahan 
was. Waddell, in a letter to me writes, viz. : 
" Possibly he was a cousin of Robert. I do not 
think he was a brother, but he may have been." 
He thinks ' ' Eledge ' ' a misprint for Alex. , abbre- 
viated from Alexander, who was son of Robert. 
But, in view of the following facts, the second of 

16 The McCm.nahans. 

which was not known to Waddell when he wrote 
the foregoing, I think he was Robert's older 
brother : ( i ) The similarity between ' ' Eledge ' ' 
and Elijah, by reason of which a mistake of one 
for the other was quite possible. (2) A letter in 
my possession, written by Elijah McClanahan, 
from "Augusta County, November 25, '89" 
(1789), to his married daughter with <4 a rising 
family," Mrs. Jinnie Holliday, Winchester, Vir- 
ginia. It was written in his old age to bid her 
" a last fare well.' ' As Robert came from Ireland 
about 1740 and died in 1791, this letter was 
written two years before he died, when, we may 
suppose he was, about seventy-five years old. 
(3) The fact that we hear nothing of his being 
in active service in the field during the Indian 
wars and Revolution, and of his holding offices 
of much responsibility dtlring and after the war, 
would indicate the same. (4) Both Elijah Mc- 
Clanahan and Alexander McClanahan were on 
the court to try disloyal persons after the war, but 
Elijah was foreman of the court.] 

Religious Liberty. 

The separation between church and State in 
Virginia was not effected until December 17, 1785, 
when the " Bill of Rights," drawn up by Thomas 


Jefferson, became law. Yet the preparation for 
this event was in progress for some years before- 
hand. While the honor of having drawn the 
first memorial to the Virginia House of Burgesses 
on this subject, is due to the Presbytery of Han- 
over, whose memorial was written and forwarded 
November n, 1774, yet Augusta County was 
among the first to fall into line. 

Waddell says (page 155) : " In October, 1776, 
the several companies of militia and freeholders 
of Augusta forwarded, to the representatives of 
the county in the Legislature, their sentiments on 
the subject of religious liberty. They demanded 
that all religious denominations within the Do- 
minion be forthwith put in full possession of equal 
liberty without preference or preeminence ," etc. 
This paper was signed by a number of gentlemen, 
among whose names are those of Elijah McClan- 
ahan and Alexander St. Clair, who married a 
daughter of Robert McClanahan. — American 
Archives, Fifth Series, Volume II, page 815. 

Treason Triai^s After the Revolution. 

Only two men in Augusta County have been 
heard of who were disloyal to their State. These 
were brought to trial in 1781, and a bill of indict- 
ment for levying war against the Commonwealth 

18 The McClanahans. 

was found against them. The court which tried 
them "was composed of Elijah McClanahan, 
Alexander St. Clair, Alexander McClanahan, 
Thomas Adams, and Tames Trimble.'' — Annals, 
page-gr If we are right in the opinion that Elijah 
McClanahan was brother of Robert the first, then 
was this court of five composed of an uncle, a 
nephew, and a brother-in-law, with two others. 
At any event, the court of five contained three 
members of the same family. 

That Elijah McClanahan was one of the first 
trustees of the town of Staunton ; a freeholder, 
demanding religious liberty from the Legislature 
of the State ; the chairman of the court that sat 
in judgment on disloyal citizens during the Revo- 
lution, are facts on which his family may dwell 
with pleasurable emotions. But to my mind his 
intrinsic worth is best seen in the most precious 
relic of the family records — the letter to his 
daughter already referred to. None but a heart 
made mellow by the purest spirit of reverence 
and devotion to God, and none but a sound and 
excellent mind could have written it. It is a long 
letter, full of wise and wholesome counsel. He 
urges upon her, with affectionate tenderness, 
"the value of her soul;" "the free offer" of 
salvation in Christ ; the freedom from ' ' slavish 

The McCi,anahans. 19 

fears " obtained through the gospel ; " a particu- 
lar regard to the Sabbath day, which alas ! is too 
frequently spent in idle conversation, tea-drinking 
and various amusements j' ' and closes with these 
words : ' ' You will see that my sentences are 
short and broken, but my earnest desire and 
prayer is that your soul may be saved through 
Jesus Christ, our Lord, to whom be everlasting 
and eternal praise. ' ' 

Children of Robert McClanahan. 

I. — Alexander. 

HE was the first son of Robert the first and 
his wife, Sarah. He married a Miss Shelton, 
who was sister of Patrick Henry's first wife. 
His first appearance in military life was during 
the Indian wars. 

Bouquet's Expedition. 

In the year 1764, the Indians in Western Penn- 
sylvania and Western Virginia, rose up in mass 
against the whites, but were defeated by British 
troops and driven beyond the Ohio River. To 
conciliate and make them good neighbors, the 
government issued a proclamation forbidding any 
subject of Great Britain to hunt or settle west of 
the Alleghany mountains without written per- 
mission. After this a military force, under Col- 
onel Bouquet, was sent across the Ohio River to 
treat with them. 

The McClanahans. 21 

In his command was a regiment of Virginians, 
one of whose companies was commanded by Cap- 
tain Alexander McClanahan. John McClanahan, 
his brother, was lieutenant in another company. 

One of the fruits of this expedition, which 
seemed to have been bloodless, was the recovery 
from the savages of many who had been captured 
and carried off by the Indians at different times 
in their hostile incursions uoon the whites. The 
infant son of Lieutenant John McClanahan re- 
ceived from the - government one thousand acres 
of bounty land for the services of his father in 
this expedition, his father having died about ten 
years after his return. 

The Battle of Point Pleasant. 

Ten years after Bouquet's expedition, A. D. 
1774, the Indians along the Ohio River rose up 
with a spirit of desperate determination against 
the whites. They had become provoked by the 
gradual occupation of Kentucky by the latter in 
spite of Bouquet's proclamation. Convinced that 
they were doomed to destruction tribe by tribe if 
they stood on the defensive, they formed a con- 
federacy, mustered their warriors together, and 
gave command of the whole army to Cornstalk, 
a chief, who proved himself in every way worthy 

22 The McClanahans. 

of the confidence they reposed in him. He 
opened his campaign by attacking the whites on 
the border, plundering their property and massa- 
cring their people. 

This roused the Government of Virginia at 
Williamsburg. Governor Dunmore ordered 
General Andrew Lewis, then living in Botetourt 
County, to raise a force of ten or twelve hundred 
men in the upper Valley and march to Point 
Pleasant on the Ohio River. He himself, with 
another force, recruited in the lower Valley, set 
out for Fort Pitt, in Western Pennsylvania (now 
Pittsburg), intending to join Lewis, Of General 
Lewis' command, four hundred were from 
Augusta County, and composed a regiment which 
was commanded by his brother, Colonel Charles 
Lewis ; the rest were from Botetourt County and 
were commanded by Colonel Fleming. Alexander 
McClanahan commanded, as captain, a company 
in Colonel Lewis' regiment, and Robert McClana- 
han, Jr., was captain of a company in Colonel 
Fleming's regiment. 

Governor Dunmore failed to join General 
Lewis, when Cornstalk, taking advantage of the 
situation, delivered battle against Lewis at Point 
Pleasant, August 10, 1774. In this noted and 
decisive engagement, which lasted all day and 

tun McClanahans. 2$ 

was very bloody, Captain Robert McClanahan fell, 
mortally wounded. He left two sons — Robert, 
the third of the name — who moved into Ken- 
tucky. Two colonels, i. e. y Lewis and Field, six 
captains, and three lieutenants with other subal- 
terns, were among the slain in this desperate 
engagement. See Howe's History of Virginia, 
page 363. 

Revolutionary War. 

On the 22nd of February, 1775, the freeholders 
of Augusta county assembled to choose members 
of the convention of Virginia, called to consider 
the question of opposing the tyranny of Great 
Britain over the States. Mr. Thomas Lewis and 
Captain Samuel McDowell were chosen members 
of the convention, and a committee was raised to 
draw up a bill of instructions for their guidance. 
This committee consisted of the Rev. Alexander 
Balmaine, Mr. Samuel Matthews, Captain Alex- 
ander McClanahan , Mr. Michael Bowyer, Mr. 
William Lewis, and Captain George Matthews. 
Waddell says, this was ' ' the first patriotic meeting 
of the people of Augusta County of which we 
have any account. ' ' 

At the commencement of the Revolution, Alex- 
ander McClanahan was commissioned Lieutenant- 

24 Thk McCXanahams. [ 

Colonel of the Seventh Regiment of Virginia 
Volunteers. (William Dangerfield was colonel 
and William Nelson major of this regiment. ) He 
was in the battle of Great Bridge, near Norfolk, 
December 9, 1775, where "every British grena- 
dier was killed without loss to the Virginians. ' ' 
He served also at Williamsburg in 1776, under 
General Andrew Lewis, and was commissioned 
colonel of the same regiment, October 7th of the 
same year. He was also engaged in the battle of 
Gwynn's Island, July 8, 1776, after the burning 
of Norfolk, which battle put an end to the inglo- 
rious career of Lord Dunmore as Governor of 
Virginia. " Shortly after, Dunmore left the coast 
of Virginia forever." — Howe's History of Vir- 
ginia, page 376. 

The Virginia Gazette, of July 29, 1776, copied 
in Howe's Virginia, page 377, says: "General 
Lewis then ordered two hundred men, under 
Colonel McClanahan, to land on the island, which 
was performed as expeditiously as our small ves- 
sels would admit of. On our arrival we found 
the enemy had evacuated the place with the 
greatest precipitation, and were struck with horror 
at the number of dead bodies in a state of putre- 
faction." In this engagement Lord Dunmore 
was wounded in the leg. 

The McCi,anahans. 25 

Alexander had three children — a son, named 
John, who died young and unmarried, and two 
daughters, Mrs. Abneyand Mrs. Austin. De- 
scendants of these ladies now live in Augusta 


II. — John. 

His wife was Margaret Ann, daughter of 
Thomas Lewis, who was a son of "John Lewis, 
the founder." The union between these two 
families, Lewis and McClanahan, beginning at 
that early period, has been frequently repeated 
down to the present time. 

" Thomas Lewis, the county surveyor, was 
disqualified for military service by defective vision, 
but was a man of culture and influence, and held 
various important positions. He was a member 
of the House of Burgesses and of the State Con- 
vention in 1775, and commissioner in 1777 to 
treat with the Indian tribes on the Ohio. He 
died October 31, 1790." — WaddelVs Annals, 
page 80. 

John McClanahan died in 1774, leaving a son, 
named Thomas Lewis, who died in November, 
1774. After his death a child was born in De- 
cember, 1774, and was called John. His widow 
married William Bowyer. In a personal letter 
Mr. Waddell writes as follows : ' ' John McClan- 

26 The McClanahans. 

ahan, son of John, was educated at William and 
Mary College, and was a youth of large fortune. 
He married Mildred Maupin, of Williamsburg, 
and had seven children, only two of whom lived 
to maturity. He went to Kentucky in t 807 and, 
coming back to Virginia, died in 1815, probably 
in Lewisburg. His son John (the third) married 
Eliza McClung, of Greenbrier, and died in 1838, 
leaving children. A daughter of John (the 
second) married Captain John Gautt, of the 
United States Army, and their son, N. B. Gautt, 
lived in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1890/ ' 

III. — Robert McClanahan the Second. 

He, with others, made the first permanent set- 
tlement in* Greenbrier, then a part of Botetourt 
County. As we have seen, he was captain of a 
company in Colonel Fleming's regiment, and was 
killed in battle with the Indians at Point Pleasant. 
He left two sons, Robert and John, who went to 
Kentucky. He is said to have been a physician. 

IV. — William McClanahan. 

He was the fourth son of Robert, the founder. 
He was born December 25, 1740, and died in 
1 8 19. He moved from Augusta Couuty to Bot- 
etourt before the battle of Point Pleasant, and 

The McCi,anahan>< 27 

settled on or near what is now the McAdamized 
road, three or four miles east of the present site 
of Salem, in Roanoke County. The farm was 
afterwards owned by one Cavell. All the land 
around there, called afterwards "The Barrens,'* 
was covered with scrub oak and scrub pine, over 
which a deer could leap, as Colonel James McClan- 
ahan, son of William, said in 1865, to a social 
company, of whom I was one. 

The Indians were sometimes seen lurking about. 
This fact greatly alarmed the family on one occa- 
sion when the lad, Elijah McClanahan, was 
belated after nightfall while returning, with a 
bag ot corn meal, from the mill. Their joy was 
equally great when a diligent search in the night, 
in which all the neighbors joineVi,' was rewarded 
by his being found. 

William McClanahan was married to Sarah 
Neely, March 7, 1769, at the home of her parents, 
on the creek east of Salem, between that town 
and the present city of Roanoke. This place was 
owned, until within a few years past, by Mr. 
Jerry Pitzer. Her family afterwards moved to 

Mr. McClanahan removed to the south bank 
of Roanoke River, about 1780, beside " the Big 
Spring, ' ' as it was called for nearly a century and 

28 The McCXanahans. 

a half. It is now known as the Crystal Spring, 
at the foot of Mill Mountain, on its southwestern 
side, 'and supplies the city of Roanoke with 
water. Here he built a house of hewn logs, 
with two large rooms on the ground floor, and a 
passage between, one and one-half stories high. 
After a while two rooms were added. The two 
chimnies, built of stone, at the ends of the house, 
were large and contained large fire-places. The 
house stood northwest and southeast ; in front of 
the right or chamber window of the present 
house (1894), and distant from it about sixty 
feet. The northwest end was a few feet to the 
right of the present walk, which extends from 
the front door of the house now occupied by Wm. 
S. McClanahan to the yard gate. It had a porch 
in front, facing Tinker Mountain. Port-holes 
were cut in the log walls, through which to fire 
upon attacking savages. The stairway was 
within the house. In later years the log walls 
were weather-boarded. So it stood until 1855, 
when it was removed by E. G. McClanahan. 


Offspring of William McClanahan, Sr., 
and Sarah, his Wife. 

( J J ELIJAH McClanahan-^?born April 20, 1770; 
I— married September 3, 1795, Agatha Strother 
Lewis, daughtei of Colonel Andrew Lewis, who 
then lived on Bent Mountain ; offspring, twelve 
children. Colonel Andrew Lewis was fourth son 
of General Andrew Lewis. 

2. Nancy McClanahan ; born August 15, 
1772 ; married Colonel William Lewis, son of Gen- 
eral Andrew Lewis ; owned and lived on what is 
now called the Burwell estate, near Salem ; after- 
wards moved to Alabama ; offspring, a large fam- 
ily ; Dr. Andrew Lewis was one of them ; Lewis 
was her second husband ; the first was Thomas 
Madison ; Dr. William Lewis, who married Miss 
Mary McFarland, daughter of Rev. Francis Mc- 
Farland, D. D., a Presbyterian minister of 
Augusta County, Virginia, was her son ; the 
Rev. Frank W. Lewis, of Clinton, Louisiana, 
was their child. 


3. Jane McClanahan ; born November 27, 
1774 ; married Andrew Lewis, grandson of Gen- 
eral Andrew Lewis ; offspring, a family of six 
children ; owned and lived on the farm now (1894) 
owned by Captain R. B. Moorman, on the north- 
east of Roanoke. 

4. James McClanahan ; born September 10, 
1777 ; married Elizabeth Walton, of Georgia, in 
April, 1808; offspring, . nine children— six sons 
and three daughters ; owned and lived on a farm 
southwest of Roanoke city, and distant about one 
mile, on the Norfolk and Western Railroad. 

Colonels Elijah and James McClanahan. 

[Colonel Elijah McClanahan was a man of 
noble build in body, mind and spirit. In person, 
he was tall and large, without being portly ; his 
countenance was impressive, blending kindness 
and candor with gravity ; his disposition was 
cheerful and sociable ; his probity beyond all 
reproach ; and the love and fear of God governed 
his life. He was a tower of strength in the 
Presbyterian Church at Salem as a ruling elder, 
and was the chief builder of the church at Big 
Lick. His name in the church extended beyond 
his own Presbytery. It was considered a privi- 
lege by strangers from a distance to know him. 

The McCiANAHANS; 31 

His brother, Colonel James McClanahan, was 
very much like him. It would be difficult to com- 
pare and impossible to contrast them. When I 
went to Roanoke to live in June, i860, their names 
were on the lips, of everybody. They were better 
and more favorably known, it seemed to me, than 
any two men in the county. A noble pair of 
brothers. Long should their memory be cherished 
and honored by their descendants.] 

5. John McClanahan; born April 30, 1780; 
married Lucy Walton, February, 1806, sister of 
William Walton, who lived one mile west of 
Salem and was an elder in the Salem church, 
noted for his piety ; offspring, five children — two 
sons and three daughters ; Charles, Sarah Griffin 
and Lucy Tosh brought up families ; lived on a 
farm adjoining the old homestead on the Franklin 
turnpike ; died in 18 14. 

6. Washington McClanahan ; born October 
3, 1782 ; unmarried ; died in 18 16, from lung 
trouble, caught, it was said, by sleeping between 
damp sheets, at a hotel, while stopping on a 

7. Green McClanahan ; born October 3, 1782 ; 
twin brother of Washington ; married Elizabeth 
Griffin, of Staunton, Virginia, June, 1808 ; lived 
on a farm on Glade Creek, one mile or more east 


of Vinton ; died in 1820; offspring, three sons 
and two daughters. 

8. Mary McClanahan ; born March 19, 1785 ; 
married Dr. Marcle, of Liberty, (now Bedford 
City), Bedford County, Virginia ; offspring, four 
children; Dr. Marcle, after her death in 1819, 
went West. 

9. Sarah McClanahan ; born October 13, 1788 ; 
married Moses Cook ; lived on Tinker Creek in 
homestead called il Rocky Dale ;" offspring, five 
children ; the widow, with two daughters, Sarah 
and Julia, moved to Charleston, Kanawha County, 
West Virginia, where she died ; (only Sarah and 
Nancy, of the nine children, died outside of 
Roanoke County). Mr. Cook was a talented 
lawyer, of much personal popularity, as was his 
son William after him ; Mrs. Cook was a woman 
of extraordinary beauty and received much atten- 
tion in society. 

Not one of the nine children had a double 

William McClanahan, Sr., seems to have been 
prospered in business. He gave a farm to each 
of his children, as we have seen. It seems that 
these farms were in the woods for the most part 
and that they built their own dwelling houses. 
Four of these houses still stand (1894), *• e -> 

ThB McCi,anahans. 33 

Green's, on Glade Creek ; John's, on the Franklin 
pike ; Elijah's, about three miles north of Roan- 
oke city ; James' , one mile southwest of Roanoke 

As evidence of his prosperity, and an interest- 
ing relic of a past century, I insert the following 
copy of a store account, taken from an original 
manuscript of excellent, substantial body, though 
yellow with age and so mutilated by time as to 
be illegible in parts : 



on o»^- VO VO00 ON 

The McCi,anahans. 

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— a 60 


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The McCi^anahans. 







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— S 2 « 

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36 The McCi,anahans. 

Mr. Wm, McClanahan, Sr., died about 1820, 
from amputation of the leg, rendered necessary 
by disease which began in the foot. His wife, 
the mother of all his children, survived him, and 
died about 1824. In person she was slender, and 
in old age suffered from palsy in the head. They 
both died in the old homestead and were buried 
in the old burying ground near by. This vener- 
able cemetery was the only one within a radius of 
sixteen miles, as Mrs. il Betsy McClanahan " per- 
sonally testified to Mrs. Colonel Thomas Lewis, 
and according to her memory, " the whole hill was 
covered*Jgraves. ' } Mrs. "Betsy McClanahan" 
personally testified to Mrs. Blanche White also, 
that a pine tree had grown up between the head 
and foot stones of the grave of her father-in law, 
Colonel Wm. McClanahan. Mrs. White remem- 
bers this tree. It wafc blown down, and a snag of 
its stump (root) may now (1894) be seen between 
these stones. 

After the death of Mrs. Wm. McClanahan, Sr., 
the homestead was inherited by her grandson, 
Charles McClanahan, who sold it to William, son 
of James McClanahan, who sold it to Colonel J. R. 
Richardson, who sold it to Thomas Tosh, who 
sold it to Elijah McClanahan, son of Green and 
grandson of William, the senior. He afterwards 

The McClanahans. 37 

(i860) bought the Big Spring mill on the place 
and removed a deed of trust that had long been 
on it. His widow, Emma S. McClanahan, bought 
it at the sale, and sold it to a land company in 1889. 

V. — Jane McClanahan, Fifth Child of 
Robert, the Founder. 

Her husband, Alexander St. Clair, came from 
Belfast, Ireland, and was for a long time a pros- 
perous merchant in Staunton, and an active mem- 
ber of the County Court. He also represented 
Augusta in the State Senate, in the years 179 1-3. 
Her children were as follows : 

1. Anne, wife of John Boys. She died when 
only nineteen years old, and her husband died a 
few years afterwards, leaving one child, Kitty 
Boys, who was the mother of Mr. Joseph A. 
Waddell, author of " Annals of Augusta County, 

. Virginia," and member of the " Virginia Histor- 
ical Society." 

2. Jane, wife of Dr. William Boys, a cousin 
of John. Among her numerous descendants are 
the Cochrans, Telfairs, and Trimbles. Her only 
son, Alexander St. Clair Boys, died in Ohio, 

3. Sally, wife of Captain Robert Williamson, 
' a native of Scotland, and a sea-captain ; a man 

88 The McClanahans. 

highly esteemed and eminent for his piety. They 
had two sons and two daughters. Probably some 
children of one of the sons are now living in 
Ohio. One of the daughters married a gentle- 
man named McL,auren, and left a number of 
children, some of whom are in Texas. 

VI. — Mrs. Dean. 

One of her descendants, probably a grand- 
daughter, was the wife of Robert Anderson, of 
Augusta County, who died leaving one child, 
Wm. D. Anderson, who also died a few years 
ago, leaving several children. 

VII. — Policy McCi^anahan. 
Married Thomas Poage. 

The Poage Connexion. 

Robert Poage, Sr. , with his wife Elizabeth and 
nine children, came from Ireland to Philadelphia, 
and from there to this colony, "at his own 
expense. ' ' The time of his coming is not known, 
but, on May 22, 1740, he appeared at Orange 
court to " prove his importation," that he might 
take up public lands. He settled three miles 
north of Staunton. 

The McCXanahans. 39 

Thomas Poage, son of Robert Poage, Sr. , in- 
herited his father's homestead. He and his wife, 
Polly McClanahan, had eight children : 

i. Elijah ; married Nancy Grattan, and went 
to Kentucky. 

2. Robert ; married Martha Crawford, and 
went to Kentucky. 

3. John ; married Mrs. Rachel Crawford, and 
lived in Rockbridge county ; father of Colonel 
Wm. S. Poage, now (1894) in -Lexington; Virginia, 
who distinguished himself in the war between 
the States for gallant and meritorious services as 
artillery officer. 

4. William ; married Peggy Allen. One of 
his daughters married General James A. Walker, 
who commanded the Stonewall Brigade in ' ' the 
war between the States ; M afterwards became 
Lieutenant-Governor of Virginia ; now a lawyer 
in Wytheville, Virginia. 

5. Ann ; married Major Archibald Woods, of 
Botetourt ; grandfather of Rev. Edgar Woods, of 
Albemarle, founder of Pantop's Academy, who 
is (1894) father of three Presbyterian mission- 
aries in Tsing-Kiang-Pu, China. 

6. Elizabeth ; married Rev. Wm. Wilson, 
second pastor of old Augusta church, which was 
built before Braddock's war, on "on the prairie 

40 The McClanahans. 

hills and vales of the Triple Forks of Shenan- 
doah," and still stands, in constant use (1894). 
He died December 1, 1835, having numbered 
ninety-four years ; his wife survived him two 
years and died at the same age. (For a sketch 
of his life, see Foote's Sketches of Virginia, 
Second Series, pages 108-9.) 

7. Polly ; married Hon. Thomas Wilson, 
brother of Rev. Wm. Wilson, who was father of 
Rev. Norvel Wilson, and grandfather of Bishop 
Alpheus Wilson, of the Southern Methodist 
Church. His daughter, Mrs. Louise Lowrie,was 
a missionary in India. 

8. Agnes ; died unmarried. (See Supplement 
to Waddell's Annals, page 443.) 


Elijah and Agatha McClanahan and their fam- 
ily of twelve : 

1 . Elizabeth ; married Dr. Gabriel Nash ; 
second husband was Dr. Cox, of Missouri ; off- 
spring, several children. 

2. Sallie ; married Edward White, brother of 
Alexander White, of Fort Lewis ; offspring, seven 

3. Mary ; married R. D. Montague ; off- 
spring, five. She was mother-in-law of Judge 

The McCi,anahans. 41 

George Junkin, whose son, William Junkin, is 
now (1894) missionary in Corea. 

4. Agnes ; married Dr. John Ingles ; off- 
spring, four, one of whom is Mrs. Colonel 
Thomas Lewis, of Roanoke. 

5. Lucy ; married William Johnston ; off- 
spring, six. 

6. Nancy ; married Colin Bass. 

7. Catharine ; married Thomas Ingles ; off- 
spring, five. 

8. Fannie ; married Thomas Micou, of Essex 
County, Virginia ; second husband, Rev. Charles 
Miller ; grandmother of Rev. W. McC. Miller ; 
offspring, five. 

9. Jane ; married Rev. J. N. Lewis ; off- 
spring, two. 

10. Peggy ; died young. 

11. William ; engaged to marry Patsy Lewis ; 
both died from fever without having married. 

12. Andrew. 

James McClanahan. 

James and Elizabeth and their family : 

1. Robert ; died unmarried. 

2. Thomas ; died unmarried. 

3. Elisha ; married Fannie Jeter ; offspring, 

42 The McClanahans. 

4. Blanche ; married Rev. Thomas Sydnor, 
D. D. ; offspring, four. 

5. Mary ; married Quinn M. Word ; offspring, 
four children. 

6. Elizabeth ; unmarried. 

7. James ; married Virginia White. 

8. Edward ; married Susan Holt. 
John and Lucy and their family : 

1 . Charles ; married Lizzie White, of Penn- 
sylvania ; offspring, four children. 

2. Sarah ; married Dr. John H. Griffin, of 
Salem, Virginia ; offspring, eleven — among them 
Captain Charles (Griffin's Battery, Army North- 
ern Virginia), Rev. John Griffin, Samuel, Judge 
Wingfield, Thomas, United States Navy. 

3. Mary ; married John White ; Mrs. Fannie 
Patton her only child. 

4. Lucy ; married Thomas Tosh ; offspring, 
nine, seven of whom grew to maturity. 

Green and Elizabeth and their family : 

1 . Elizabeth ; dn^ap^eaf^ADram^Rader ; off- 
spring, four — two died in Confederate States 
Army on same day and in the same room ; second 
husband William McClung — offspring, three, 
Laura, Thomas and Sarah. 

2. Washington ; unmarried. 

The McCi,anahans. 43 

3. Sarah Neely ; married Dr. Fox ; no child 
that lived ; second husband Rev. Thomas Busey 
— offspring, five, William, Norvel, Henry, Eliz- 
abeth and Charles. 

4. John ; married Maria May, Scottsville, 
Virginia ; offspring, two, Green and Norma. 

5. Elijah ; married Sarah Margaret Hurt ; 
offspring, three — Laura, wife of Rev. A. W. 
Pitzer, D. D., of Washington, D. C. ; Maria 
Blanche, wife of Rev. H. M. White, D. D., of 
Winchester, Va. ; Nannie, wife of P. H. Rorer, 
of Roanoke, Va. Second wife, Emma Samantha 
Crenshaw ; offspring, four — Robert, Sarah, Wil- 
liam S. , and Etta. 

The War of 186 1-5. 

The good name made by the McClanahans in 
the Indian wars and in the war of the Revolution, 
was not suffered to be lost in that ' ' between the 
States.' ' All the young men of the family, with- 
out exception, so far as can be ascertained, who 
were of serviceable age, enlisted voluntarily and 
made good records as soldiers, both in rank and 
file, of the Army of Northern Virginia. 

, James, Elijah], 

Mrs. Dean 



Mrs. Robert Anderson 

rs. Wm. D. Anderson